Pretty sure this is not supposed to be standard operating procedure, but then again ...
From reader @mazzie:
At about 5:50 p.m.yesterday, I boarded an S2 bus at 16th and U Streets, headed south to Federal Triangle. As I touched my farecard to the reader, I noticed the unmistakable glow of a cell phone in the driver's hand and looked down to see that he seemed to be typing a text message.
Instead of heading to the back of the bus, which I usually do, I decided to sit on the bench across from the driver to see if I could get a picture.
I was in awe.
I must have been obvious in my shock and my sudden decision to sit down and whip out my own phone, because the driver glanced at me and moved the cell phone from chest level to his lap. He held it there with the other hand on the wheel as he pulled away from the curb.
I was texting and trying to get a good shot when the bus stopped suddenly, and I lurched sideways. I looked up to see we were at the intersection of 16th and T, the light was green, and there was nothing in front of us. The driver was looking at his phone.
As he began to move again, he tucked the phone into his shirt pocket, under his vest. I finished the text message I was writing, thinking the incident was over.
Then I heard rustling from the driver's direction, and looked up to see that he didn't have either hand on the wheel.
Instead, he was trying to open a bag of sunflower seeds.
As he was driving down 16th Street during rush hour with several passengers on the bus, he had both hands on the bag, which he finally used his teeth to tear open.
Again, I was in awe.
As we continued down 16th Street, the driver held the bag in his left hand and took seeds from it in his right hand, steering the bus with his wrists and forearms.
After I got off the bus, I seriously considered filing a report with the police, as I am pretty sure operating a vehicle while texting is not only against WMATA policy, but against the law in DC.
The truth is, though, I don't want the driver arrested or charged or fined. And I don't want to tie up the resources of my local MPD district office. I don't even want him to lose his job.
I do, however, want him -- as well as all other operators, staff, union leaders and board members of WMATA -- to act as though they take the safety of their customers seriously.
Do you think WMATA drivers deserve a >9% raise over three years? (WMATA)
Orange, Blue and Yellow to suck this weekend (WMATA)